- Youngster says after learning to spell Polish names and Welsh places, English is a ‘doddle’
- Online spelling test attracts 1.57million competitors from more than 200 countries
By Amy Oliver
PUBLISHED: 08:30 EST, 1 May 2012 | UPDATED: 10:37 EST, 1 May 2012
‘English is a doddle’: Nine-year-old Agnieszka Runa-Ann Kolaczynska, from the village of Llidiartywaun won first prize in the World Education Games Spelling championships
A schoolgirl with a tongue-twisting name living in an near-unpronounceable place has stunned her family by becoming a spelling champion.
Nine-year-old Agnieszka Runa-Ann Kolaczynska, from the village of Llidiartywaun won first prize for Wales in the World Education Games Spelling championships.
Clever Agnieszka admits its because she’s had plenty of practice spelling her long Polish family name and her address in Wales.
Agnieszka said: ‘If you can spell my name you can spell just about anything. After learning to spell Polish names and Welsh places, English is a doddle.’
Agnieszka has never even been to school and is educated at home with her siblings Isabella, 17, and Magdalena, six, who has Downs Syndrome, by her ex-teacher mother Anita and doctor father Alex.
The youngster had a head start in the spelling championships – her full name contains 26 letters, the same as the A-Z alphabet.
She won first place for Wales, came seventh in the UK and 31st in the world, even though she had never taken a spelling test before.
Some 1.57million participants from more than 200 countries take part in the contest.
Agnieszka said: ‘Reading and spelling are some of my favourite things. And I have started my own blog because I like writing too.’
Agnieszka has a smattering of Polish from her grandmother and has learned some Welsh living in the village of Llidiartywaun, near Llanidloes, Powys.
She sometimes reads three books a day and has to be told to take a rest from her books by her parents.
Proud mother Anita, 45, said: ‘She entered the spelling games because it looked fun to compete live against children from all over the world.
Modern bee: Children from more than 200 countries take part in the World Education Games Spelling championships. Unlike a traditional bee, the children submit their answers online against the clock
COULD YOU SPELL THEM? TEN WORDS IN AGNIESZKA’S TEST
‘She went on the computer on her own and just got on with it.
‘But when I saw her I realised I would never have been able to do it myself at that speed.
‘It’s against the clock but she has a fast brain. We’ve taught her to touch-type so I think that’s one of the reasons she did so well.
‘We were amazed to see her name appear on the leader board.
‘Agnieszka is determined and self-motivated and we are very proud of her. Let’s face it she has to check her spellings with a name like hers and living here.’
Anita, who describes herself as an educator, said she will be happy for Agnieszka to go to school and university later on in life but for the moment she feels she can give her a better education at home.
She said: ‘I have never heard my girls say they are bored. We have a TV but only watch it when there is a specific programme we want to see.
‘They don’t have screens to distract them – if they go on the computer they have to think about it first.’
Unlike a traditional spelling bee, children competing in the World Education Games Spelling championships submit their answers online against the clock.
The test, which has five different levels, takes an hour and the players have 48 hours to complete the task. There is a competitive edge as players can compete against each other.
Agnieszka had to spell hundreds of different words for her age group – eight to ten. There is an easier test for ages four to seven, and harder ones for students aged 11 to 13 and 14 to 18.
Winners receive a minted gold medal and commemorative certificate